Phillies set club record in rout of Nationals

Philadelphia almost matched the franchise mark for runs in an inning, set with 13 in the fourth at Cincinnati in 2003.

OUR PICK: The Nationals are 4-0 in Strasburg's last four starts against the Phillies and are 4-0 in his last four road starts versus Philadelphia.

Philadelphia Phillies manager Pete Mackanin emerged from the dugout at Citizens Bank Park be...

"We had to go to the bullpen early", Mackanin said, adding, "it puts a strain". Certainly, Franco has it. Saunders has it; he hit 24 a year ago. "I'm going to be able to compete in this first turn of the rotation".

In the five years since the balance of power in the National League East shifted 130 miles to the south, there have been plenty of moments where it felt like the Phillies and Nationals were on two very distinct levels. One of the big things that stood in his way was lengthy at-bats skyrocketing his pitch count.

We were all ga-ga from the get-go for Nola's serpentine two-seam fastball, his teleporting curve and incredible ability to locate.

Nationals pitcher Jeremy Guthrie, who earlier in the day had his contract purchased from the minors, seemed ripe for the taking from the outset, giving up a leadoff double to shortstop Cesar Hernandez that was followed by a Howie Kendrick single. He walked one and struck out two. Like closer Blake Treinen, lefty Enny Romero and other inexperienced relievers, he has not pitched many innings like these before. Velasquez would walk Eaton again in the third, fan Harper, but then be taken deep to right-center by Murphy. When he doesn't is when he's at his best. The Phillies need that patience to beat dominant pitchers such as Strasburg. And when Utley, Jayson Werth and Raul Ibanez all hit 30-plus homers and Howard delivered 45, the Phillies were in the 2009 World Series, too.

He got away from that in the third.

Vince Velasquez starts for the Phillies in their home opener after losing two of three in Cincinnati. Griffin left with scrapes on his pitching palm and both knees after he slid on the warning track near the Oakland dugout trying to field an overthrow by Mazara from right field. But where Scherzer really thrives is getting batters to swing and miss at pitches in the strike zone. Murphy extended the lead to 4-0 on the seventh pitch of the at-bat. The Nationals brought him to spring training as a non-roster invitee and he began this season working out in Florida before he got the fateful call to start Saturday's game. "He can just overpower hitters". And there is a time and a place to finesse. "He's going to get it". Much of the back end of the bullpen is returning from a year ago. Back in 2015, as a member of the Kansas City Royals, Guthrie had another historically bad day at the ballpark. He scattered three runs and seven hits in six innings of work with seven strikeouts and two walks on 89 pitches. Guthrie walked Aaron Nola to load the bases again and turn the lineup over. Guthrie has the fifth most wins (91) of any Oregonian.

  • Julie Sanders